Apr 7

Spaghetti with Creamy Mascarpone Sauce, Italian Sausage, & Pine Nuts Recipe


Spaghetti with Creamy Mascarpone Sauce & Italian Sausage Recipe

I got the idea for this dish from Giada de Laurentiis, the Food Network star with the really big…um…eyes. Seriously, I have tried many of her recipes and they have all been winners. This pasta is the ultimate comfort food for me and whenever I make it, everything I know about portion control goes out the window. In fact, last night I ate so much of it that all I could do was sit on the couch and watch TV. Actually, I looked pretty much like this fine fella.

My friend dubbed this recipe “Pasta Wonder” because when she made it for her family, they all thought she was a culinary genius. I think she was just trying to get me to make her a peanut butter and chocolate cake.
You can add almost any veggie into this dish, such as asparagus or snap peas. One of my personal favorites is roasted red bell peppers. You can buy them in a jar at the grocery store, but you’ll get much more flavor if you roast your own peppers. Check out this link to see how easy it is.
Peel an onion and slice it in half through the root. Thinly slice each half and separate the rings. Cut 2 roasted red peppers into thin strips. Toast 1/4 cup pine nuts in a dry pan until they are golden brown. Watch them carefully. They can burn in the time you can say, “Fat cat sitting on a couch watching TV.” (You clicked the link above, right? Otherwise, you’re thinking I’m one pancake short of a stack.) 

Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Be sure to salt your water – it’s the only opportunity you have to season the noodles. I use whole-wheat spaghetti for this recipe, but you could use regular spaghetti, linguini, or fettuccine. Put the pasta of your choice – 1 lb of it – in the boiling water and cook until al dente. 

While waiting for the pasta to cook, heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 2 tsp olive oil. Squeeze the contents of 4 sweet or hot Italian sausages out of their casings and into the pan. Add the onions to the pan. With a wooden spoon, break up the sausage into small pieces and cook until the sausage is browned and the onions are very soft, about 10 minutes.

Just before the pasta is done, scoop out 1 cup of the cooking water and set it aside. Don’t forget this step! Regular water will not suffice. The pasta water is full of the starches from the pasta, which will help to thicken the sauce. Cool, huh?

Add 1/2 cup mascarpone cheese, 1 cup pasta cooking water, and 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese to the sausage mixture and stir until the cheese is melted. 

Using tongs, scoop the cooked pasta out of the water, let it drip slightly, and add it to the sausage mixture. You could strain the pasta, but why dirty another dish? The extra water from the pasta will help to extend the sauce.

Add the strips of roasted red pepper and toasted pine nuts.

Toss to coat the pasta with the sauce. Taste and season with salt and pepper, if necessary. Serve immediately.

Spaghetti with Creamy Mascarpone Sauce & Italian Sausage

1 lb. spaghetti pasta
1 ½ tbsp olive oil
4 links mild or hot Italian sausage, casings removed
1 small onion, thinly sliced
½ cup mascarpone cheese
½ cup Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, finely grated
2 roasted red peppers, thinly sliced
¼ cup pine nuts, toasted
Salt and pepper to taste 

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the spaghetti and cook according to package directions or until al dente. Reserve 1 cup of the pasta cooking liquid. Drain the pasta.

In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the sausages and onions, breaking up the sausage into bite-sized pieces as it browns. Continue to cook until the sausage is cooked through, about 8 to 10 minutes. The onions will become tender and light golden brown. Add the cup of pasta cooking water. Scrape up browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Add the mascarpone and Parmigiano Reggiano cheeses and stir until the cheeses melt into a sauce. Add the pasta, roasted red peppers, and pine nuts. Toss to coat with the sauce. Season with salt and pepper and toss again. Serve immediately.

Serves 4.

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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Anonymous April 7, 2009 at 3:02 pm

This looks delicious! Now I know what we’re having for dinner.


2 Anonymous April 7, 2009 at 7:02 pm

Who said you couldn’t teach an old dog new tricks. This mother is learning a lot of new tricks and giggling the all the way through this blog. Good for you, D. Always look forward to the next posting. M.


3 Anonymous April 7, 2009 at 9:00 pm

Well, at long last the recipe for a yummy pasta dish I’ve heard about for quite some time but have yet to try. Thanks for spreading the wealth…or shall I say cellulite. J.


4 Dara April 8, 2009 at 1:15 pm

LOL, J. I hope it lives up to the hype!


5 FSK April 16, 2009 at 3:53 pm

I like Giada’s recipes too.. they are fun and easy and always turn out great! :)) …


6 marla {family fresh cooking} September 14, 2010 at 11:58 am

Oh I have BIG eyes looking at this pasta too! It does look amazing…gonna link to it now on my Spaghetti & Cheese Nests post. xo


7 Barbara @ Modern Comfort Food September 14, 2010 at 12:45 pm

Wow!..this is a perfect weekday meal. Absolutely delicious looking, made of ingredients that many of us already have on hand in the fridge/pantry, simple, and quick. Plus, any eater will think it's been slaved over for hours. And what a gorgeous new site design too. Love it!!


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